WORLD AGRICULTURE
TOWARDS 2030/2050
The 2012 Revision
Nikos Alexandratos and Jelle Bruinsma
Global Perspective Studies Tea...
i
World agriculture towards 2030/2050: the 2012 revision
Nikos Alexandratos and Jelle Bruinsma
Global Perspective Studies ...
ii
Acknowledgements
This paper was prepared by Nikos Alexandratos (Chapters 1, 2 and 3 and the related
quantifications) an...
iii
CONTENTS
CHAPTER 1 OVERVIEW..............................................................................................
iv
APPENDIX 2 Summary Note on Methodology.................................................................. 137
REFERENCES...
v
Table 4.13 Cereal yields, rainfed and irrigated................................................................. 122
Tab...
vi
Figure 3.10 Sugar production and consumption, developed countries
(thousand
tonnes, raw equivalent) ......................
1
CHAPTER 1
OVERVIEW
Introduction
The perceived limits to producing food for a growing global population have been a sourc...
2
producing countries remain in place, and then maintain the same quantities of agricultural
products used for biofuels fo...
3
to the GDP projections employed, would be over 80 percent richer in terms of average per
capita incomes. Food consumptio...
4
Figure 1.1 Per capita food consumption (kcal/person/day)
Concerning the commodity composition of food consumption, while...
5
countries reaching high levels of per capita food consumption and entering a phase of
declining population will likely e...
6
affected did fall from 20 percent to 16 percent. Absolute numbers, however, increased
because total population increased...
7
undernourishment higher than it would otherwise be. For any given level of national average
kcal/person/day, a higher pr...
8
Figure 1.4 World production and use, major products (million tonnes)
Achieving such production increases will not be eas...
9
and China. These two countries, traditional exporters of rice, have become net exporters of
other cereals. China’s net e...
10
consumption. The net result will likely be that the major developed exporters of meat will see
little growth, a trend p...
11
Figure 1.6 World land availability with potential for rainfed crops (million ha)
Source: Chapter 4, Table 4.6 (from the...
12
Figure 1.7 Land in use at present, increase to 2050 and remaining balance in 2050
Source: Chapter 4, Tables 4.7-4.8.
No...
13
resources8
. Likewise, irrigation based on non-renewable resources, e.g. using fossil water in
desert irrigation scheme...
14
3.4 tonnes/ha (average 2005/2007). On average it has been growing in a nearly perfect linear
fashion with increments of...
15
average would have grown to 5.42 tonnes/ha by 2050, and world production would be 3.8
billion tonnes, hence more than o...
16
countries area contraction as prospective yield increases are more than sufficient to meet their
projected demand – dom...
17
of the exploitable yield gap in countries that are already achieving fairly high yields
(Bruinsma, 2011; Fischer, T. et...
18
60 percent of the 1.4 billion ha of the global land classified as prime or good for rainfed crop
production but not yet...
19
What’s next? Beyond 2050
Imagine you are in 2050 and the projections we have presented have come true. How should
we sp...
20
Table 1.1 Key variables beyond 2050
2005/2007 2050 2080 2100
Population (million)- UN 2008 Revision 6 592 9 150 9 414 9...
21
This is particularly so in the light of the new population projections which have sharp
upward revisions in a number of...
22
of Tanzania, Burkina Faso and others. Such demographic futures can set the stage for
persistence of food insecurity for...
23
CHAPTER 2
PROSPECTS FOR FOOD AND NUTRITION
2.1 The broad picture: historical developments and present situation
2.1.1 P...
24
by noting how much larger is the increase of the population-weighted average (from 2055 to
2620) compared with that of ...
25
demand outcomes will have a profound impact on the assessment of long-term prospects of
world agriculture and nutrition...
26
– Table 2.2), when average food consumption reached 2620 kcal/person/day. This estimate is
not significantly different ...
Dr Dev Kambhampati | FAO- World Agriculture Towards 2030/2050
Dr Dev Kambhampati | FAO- World Agriculture Towards 2030/2050
Dr Dev Kambhampati | FAO- World Agriculture Towards 2030/2050
Dr Dev Kambhampati | FAO- World Agriculture Towards 2030/2050
Dr Dev Kambhampati | FAO- World Agriculture Towards 2030/2050
Dr Dev Kambhampati | FAO- World Agriculture Towards 2030/2050
Dr Dev Kambhampati | FAO- World Agriculture Towards 2030/2050
Dr Dev Kambhampati | FAO- World Agriculture Towards 2030/2050
Dr Dev Kambhampati | FAO- World Agriculture Towards 2030/2050
Dr Dev Kambhampati | FAO- World Agriculture Towards 2030/2050
Dr Dev Kambhampati | FAO- World Agriculture Towards 2030/2050
Dr Dev Kambhampati | FAO- World Agriculture Towards 2030/2050
Dr Dev Kambhampati | FAO- World Agriculture Towards 2030/2050
Dr Dev Kambhampati | FAO- World Agriculture Towards 2030/2050
Dr Dev Kambhampati | FAO- World Agriculture Towards 2030/2050
Dr Dev Kambhampati | FAO- World Agriculture Towards 2030/2050
Dr Dev Kambhampati | FAO- World Agriculture Towards 2030/2050
Dr Dev Kambhampati | FAO- World Agriculture Towards 2030/2050
Dr Dev Kambhampati | FAO- World Agriculture Towards 2030/2050
Dr Dev Kambhampati | FAO- World Agriculture Towards 2030/2050
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Dr Dev Kambhampati | FAO- World Agriculture Towards 2030/2050
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Dr Dev Kambhampati | FAO- World Agriculture Towards 2030/2050
Dr Dev Kambhampati | FAO- World Agriculture Towards 2030/2050
Dr Dev Kambhampati | FAO- World Agriculture Towards 2030/2050
Dr Dev Kambhampati | FAO- World Agriculture Towards 2030/2050
Dr Dev Kambhampati | FAO- World Agriculture Towards 2030/2050
Dr Dev Kambhampati | FAO- World Agriculture Towards 2030/2050
Dr Dev Kambhampati | FAO- World Agriculture Towards 2030/2050
Dr Dev Kambhampati | FAO- World Agriculture Towards 2030/2050
Dr Dev Kambhampati | FAO- World Agriculture Towards 2030/2050
Dr Dev Kambhampati | FAO- World Agriculture Towards 2030/2050
Dr Dev Kambhampati | FAO- World Agriculture Towards 2030/2050
Dr Dev Kambhampati | FAO- World Agriculture Towards 2030/2050
Dr Dev Kambhampati | FAO- World Agriculture Towards 2030/2050
Dr Dev Kambhampati | FAO- World Agriculture Towards 2030/2050
Dr Dev Kambhampati | FAO- World Agriculture Towards 2030/2050
Dr Dev Kambhampati | FAO- World Agriculture Towards 2030/2050
Dr Dev Kambhampati | FAO- World Agriculture Towards 2030/2050
Dr Dev Kambhampati | FAO- World Agriculture Towards 2030/2050
Dr Dev Kambhampati | FAO- World Agriculture Towards 2030/2050
Dr Dev Kambhampati | FAO- World Agriculture Towards 2030/2050
Dr Dev Kambhampati | FAO- World Agriculture Towards 2030/2050
Dr Dev Kambhampati | FAO- World Agriculture Towards 2030/2050
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Dr Dev Kambhampati | FAO- World Agriculture Towards 2030/2050
Dr Dev Kambhampati | FAO- World Agriculture Towards 2030/2050
Dr Dev Kambhampati | FAO- World Agriculture Towards 2030/2050
Dr Dev Kambhampati | FAO- World Agriculture Towards 2030/2050
Dr Dev Kambhampati | FAO- World Agriculture Towards 2030/2050
Dr Dev Kambhampati | FAO- World Agriculture Towards 2030/2050
Dr Dev Kambhampati | FAO- World Agriculture Towards 2030/2050
Dr Dev Kambhampati | FAO- World Agriculture Towards 2030/2050
Dr Dev Kambhampati | FAO- World Agriculture Towards 2030/2050
Dr Dev Kambhampati | FAO- World Agriculture Towards 2030/2050
Dr Dev Kambhampati | FAO- World Agriculture Towards 2030/2050
Dr Dev Kambhampati | FAO- World Agriculture Towards 2030/2050
Dr Dev Kambhampati | FAO- World Agriculture Towards 2030/2050
Dr Dev Kambhampati | FAO- World Agriculture Towards 2030/2050
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Dr Dev Kambhampati | FAO- World Agriculture Towards 2030/2050
Dr Dev Kambhampati | FAO- World Agriculture Towards 2030/2050
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Dr Dev Kambhampati | FAO- World Agriculture Towards 2030/2050

  1. 1. WORLD AGRICULTURE TOWARDS 2030/2050 The 2012 Revision Nikos Alexandratos and Jelle Bruinsma Global Perspective Studies Team ESA Working Paper No. 12-03 June 2012 Agricultural Development Economics Division Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations www.fao.org/economic/esa
  2. 2. i World agriculture towards 2030/2050: the 2012 revision Nikos Alexandratos and Jelle Bruinsma Global Perspective Studies Team FAO Agricultural Development Economics Division Abstract This paper is a re-make of Chapters 1-3 of the Interim Report World Agriculture: towards 2030/2050 (FAO, 2006). In addition, this new paper includes a Chapter 4 on production factors (land, water, yields, fertilizers). Revised and more recent data have been used as basis for the new projections, as follows: (a) updated historical data from the Food Balance Sheets 1961-2007 as of June 2010; (b) undernourishment estimates from The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2010 (SOFI) and related new parameters (CVs, minimum daily energy requirements) are used in the projections; (c) new population data and projections from the UN World Population Prospects - Revision of 2008; (d) new GDP data and projections from the World Bank; (e) a new base year of 2005/2007 (the previous edition used the base year 1999/2001); (f) updated estimates of land resources from the new evaluation of the Global Agro-ecological Zones (GAEZ) study of FAO and IIASA. Estimates of land under forest and in protected areas from the GAEZ are taken into account and excluded from the estimates of land areas suitable for crop production into which agriculture could expand in the future; (g) updated estimates of existing irrigation, renewable water resources and potentials for irrigation expansion; and (h) changes in the text as required by the new historical data and projections. Like the interim report, this re-make does not include projections for the Fisheries and Forestry sectors. Calories from fish are, however, included, in the food consumption projections, along with those from other commodities (e.g. spices) not analysed individually. The projections presented reflect the magnitudes and trajectories we estimate the major food and agriculture variables may assume in the future; they are not meant to reflect how these variables may be required to evolve in the future in order to achieve some normative objective, e.g. ensure food security for all, eliminate undernourishment or reduce it to any given desired level, or avoid food overconsumption leading to obesity and related Non- Communicable Diseases. Keywords: agricultural outlook, food demand, production growth, nutrition, crop production, global outlook, land use, irrigation, crop yields. JEL classification: FO1, O13, Q11, Q17, Q18, Q21, Q24, Q25
  3. 3. ii Acknowledgements This paper was prepared by Nikos Alexandratos (Chapters 1, 2 and 3 and the related quantifications) and Jelle Bruinsma (Chapter 4) who also performed the underlying calculations except for the calculation of water requirements in irrigation which was performed by Jippe Hoogeveen. Comments by Kostas Stamoulis, Dominique van der Mensbrugghe, Piero Conforti, Seth Meyer and the provision of data and projections by the team that prepared the OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook are gratefully acknowledged, as are comments on Chapter 4 by Günther Fischer, Harrij van Velthuizen and Freddy Nachtergaele (on GAEZ), Jean-Marc Faurès, Jacob Burke and Jippe Hoogeveen (on irrigation), Simon Mack (on livestock) and Jan Poulisse (on fertilizers). The authors alone are responsible for any remaining errors. The opinions expressed in this paper are the authors’ and do not necessarily reflect those of FAO. Citation Alexandratos, N. and J. Bruinsma. 2012. World agriculture towards 2030/2050: the 2012 revision. ESA Working paper No. 12-03. Rome, FAO. The designations employed and the presentation of the material in this information product do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries. In the presentation of statistical material, countries are, where appropriate, aggregated in the following main economic groupings: “Developed countries” and “Developing countries”, as listed in the Appendix. The designation “developed” and “developing” economies is intended for statistical convenience and does not necessarily express a judgement about the stage of development reached by a particular country.
  4. 4. iii CONTENTS CHAPTER 1 OVERVIEW.................................................................................................... 1 CHAPTER 2 PROSPECTS FOR FOOD AND NUTRITION ............................................ 23 2.1 The broad picture: historical developments and present situation................................ 23 2.1.1 Progress made in raising food consumption per person ................................ 23 2.1.2 The incidence of undernourishment – past and present................................. 25 2.2 The outlook for food and nutrition in the projections................................................... 29 2.2.1 Demographics ................................................................................................ 29 2.2.2 Overall economy............................................................................................ 34 2.2.3 Food security outcomes ................................................................................. 36 2.3 Structural changes in the commodity composition of food consumption..................... 41 2.4 Concluding remarks...................................................................................................... 50 ANNEX 2.1 India’s Food Demand Projections in a Global Context.................................... 51 CHAPTER 3 PROSPECTS FOR AGRICULTURE AND MAJOR COMMODITY GROUPS ................................................................................ 59 3.1 Aggregate agriculture: historical trends and prospects................................................. 59 3.2 Cereals ....................................................................................................................... 65 3.3 Livestock commodities ................................................................................................. 71 3.3.1 Past and present ............................................................................................. 71 3.3.2 Prospects for the livestock sector................................................................... 75 3.4 Oilcrops, vegetable oils and products ........................................................................... 80 3.4.1 Past and present ............................................................................................. 80 3.4.2 Prospects for the oilcrops sector.................................................................... 84 3.5 Roots, tubers and plantains ........................................................................................... 85 3.5.1 Past and present ............................................................................................. 85 3.5.2 Roots, tubers and plantains in the future........................................................ 87 3.6 Sugar ....................................................................................................................... 87 ANNEX 3.1 Biofuels and Climate Change in the Projections ........................................... 92 CHAPTER 4 AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTION AND NATURAL RESOURCE USE.......................................................................................... 94 4.1 Production growth in agriculture .................................................................................. 94 4.2 Crop production ............................................................................................................ 97 4.2.1 Sources of growth.......................................................................................... 97 4.2.2 Land with crop production potential............................................................ 101 4.2.3 Expansion of land in crop production.......................................................... 106 4.2.4 Expansion of irrigated land.......................................................................... 112 4.2.5 Irrigation water requirements and pressure on water resources .................. 116 4.2.6 Crop yield growth........................................................................................ 119 4.2.7 Fertilizer consumption................................................................................. 126 4.3 Livestock production .................................................................................................. 131 APPENDIX 1 Countries and Commodities Included in the Analysis................................. 134
  5. 5. iv APPENDIX 2 Summary Note on Methodology.................................................................. 137 REFERENCES ..................................................................................................................... 140 Boxes Box 1.1 Measuring the increase in aggregate agricultural production (all crop and livestock products) ........................................................................ 7 Box 2.1 Measuring the incidence of undernourishment: the key role of the estimates of food available for direct human consumption........................ 27 Box 2.2 Countries with high population growth to 2050 and limited agricultural resources: an untenable combination? .......................................... 31 Box 2. 3 Population growth and global food demand..................................................... 32 Box 4.1 Projecting land use and yield growth ............................................................. 100 Box 4.2 Agro-ecological zone (AEZ) methodology.................................................... 103 Box 4. 3 Assumed levels of inputs and management.................................................... 103 Tables Table 1.1 Key Variables Beyond 2050............................................................................. 20 Table 2.1 Per capita food consumption (kcal/person/day) ............................................... 23 Table 2.2 Incidence of undernourishment, developing countries..................................... 26 Table 2.3 Population data and projections........................................................................ 30 Table 2.4 GDP assumptions and implied convergence indicators ................................... 36 Table 2.5 Changes in the commodity composition of food by major country groups ..... 44 Table 2.6 Changes in the commodity composition of food, developing regions ............. 48 Table 3.1 Growth Rates of Demand and Production, percent p.a. ................................... 64 Table 3.2 Cereal balances, world and major country groups ........................................... 67 Table 3.3 Net trade balances, wheat, rice, coarse grains, developing countries by region (million tonnes) ................................................................................ 71 Table 3.4 Meat: aggregate production and demand.......................................................... 74 Table 3.5 Milk and Dairy Products (liquid milk equivalent)............................................ 75 Table 3.6 Major oilcrops, world production..................................................................... 82 Table 3.7 Net trade balances for oilseeds, oils and products (in oil equivalent) .............. 83 Table A.3.1 World use of crops for biofuels........................................................................ 92 Table 4.1 Increases in population, calorie supply and agricultural production................ 94 Table 4.2 Agricultural production growth rates (percent p.a.) ......................................... 95 Table 4.3 Annual crop production growth (percent p.a.) ................................................. 97 Table 4.4 Sources of growth in crop production (percent)............................................... 98 Table 4.5 Sources of growth for major cereals in developing countries .......................... 99 Table 4.6 Land with rain-fed crop production potential (world; million ha) ................. 104 Table 4.7 Land with rain-fed crop production potential by region (million ha)............. 106 Table 4.8 Total arable land in use: data and projections ................................................ 109 Table 4.9 Arable land in use, cropping intensities and harvested land........................... 111 Table 4.10 Area equipped for irrigation ........................................................................... 113 Table 4.11 Annual renewable water resources and irrigation water withdrawal.............. 118 Table 4.12 Area and yields for major crops in the world ................................................. 121
  6. 6. v Table 4.13 Cereal yields, rainfed and irrigated................................................................. 122 Table 4.14 Top and bottom cereal yields in developing countries................................... 124 Table 4.15 Fertilizer consumption: historical and projected ............................................ 128 Table 4.16 Fertilizer consumption by major crops........................................................... 128 Table 4.17 Annual livestock production growth (percent p.a.) ........................................ 131 Table 4.18 World livestock production by livestock sector ............................................. 131 Table 4.19 Meat production: number of animals and carcass weight .............................. 133 Figures Figure 1.1 Per capita food consumption (kcal/person/day)................................................. 4 Figure 1.2 Food consumption per capita, major commodities (kg/person/year)................. 5 Figure 1.3 Prevalence of undernourishment, developing countries .................................... 6 Figure 1.4 World production and use, major products (million tonnes) ............................. 8 Figure 1.5 Developing countries: net cereals trade (million tonnes)................................... 9 Figure 1.6 World land availability with potential for rainfed crops (million ha).............. 11 Figure 1.7 Land in use at present, increase to 2050 and remaining balance in 2050 ........ 12 Figure 1.8 Irrigated area, 2005/2007 and 2050 (million ha).............................................. 14 Figure 1.9 World cereals, average yield and harvested area ............................................. 15 Figure 1.10 Coarse grain yield, sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America............................. 16 Figure 2.1 kcal/person/day, by region and country groups, 1990-2007............................ 24 Figure 2.2 Developing countries: population living in countries with given kcal/ person/day................................................................................................ 25 Figure 2.3 World population: 1950-2010 and projections (three variants) ....................... 29 Figure 2.4 Annual population increments and growth rates (medium variant)................. 30 Figure 2.5 Comparison of population data and 2050 projections of three UN assessments....................................................................................................... 33 Figure 2.6 Medium population projection to 2100: world total, sub-Saharan Africa and Rest-of-World................................................................................. 34 Figure 2.7 20 countries with undernourishment over 30% in 2005/2007, data and projections ................................................................................................. 39 Figure 2.8 Sub-Saharan Africa: GDP per capita (PPP 2005$), food per capita and poverty....................................................................................................... 40 Figure 2.9 Developing countries: population (million) in countries with x% undernourished................................................................................................. 41 Figure 2.10 Cereals consumption (direct food only) in kg/person/year .............................. 43 Figure 3. 1 Net agricultural trade of developing countries, 1961-2007 (billion 2004-06 ICP$) ..................................................................................... 63 Figure 3.2 Net agricultural trade of developing countries, data and projections (billion 2004-06 ICP$) ..................................................................................... 63 Figure 3.3 World cereal production 1996-2010 (million tonnes) and prices .................... 66 Figure 3.4 Per capita food consumption: wheat, rice, coarse grains and all cereals 68 Figure 3.5 Cereals feed (million tonnes) and livestock production ($ billion).................. 69 Figure 3.6 Cereals self-sufficiency rates and net imports.................................................. 70 Figure 3.7 Meat: net trade of major importer/exporter country groups............................. 78 Figure 3.8 World feed use of cereals and oilcakes (million tonnes) ................................. 80 Figure 3.9 Cassava: Thailand net exports versus EU and China’s net imports................. 87
  7. 7. vi Figure 3.10 Sugar production and consumption, developed countries (thousand tonnes, raw equivalent) .................................................................................... 88 Figure 3.11 Sugar and sugar crops food consumption (raw sugar equivalent) ................... 89 Figure 3.12 Sugar net trade positions, 1970-2007............................................................... 89 Figure 3.13 Brazil: sugar cane, sugar and ethanol............................................................... 90 Figure 3.14 Sugar net trade positions, 1970-2007 and projections ..................................... 91 Figure 4.1 Agricultural production by region.................................................................... 96 Figure 4.2 World land area by category (million ha in 2005/2007)................................ 102 Figure 4.3 Arable land per cap (ha in use per person)..................................................... 108 Figure 4.4 Arable land and land under permanent crops: past developments................. 108 Figure 4.5 Arable land and land under permanent crops: past and future....................... 110 Figure 4.6 Developing countries with over 10 million ha of arable land in use.............. 110 Figure 4.7 Area equipped for irrigation (million ha)....................................................... 112 Figure 4.8 The historical evolution of rainfed and irrigated arable area ......................... 113 Figure 4.9 Arable irrigated land: equipped and in use (million ha)................................. 115 Figure 4.10 Annual growth rates of world cereal production and yields (over preceding 25-year period; historical 1961 - 2007)................................ 119 Figure 4.11 World wheat and maize land, yield and production....................................... 123 Figure 4.12 World fertilizer consumption: past and projected.......................................... 129 Figure A.2.11 India: per capita HHCE (PPP2005$), cereals (kg) and kcal/person./day..... 51 Figure A.2.1.2 Changes in kcal/person/day in ten-year periods of high growth in per capita HHCE................................................................................................ 52 Figure A.2.1.3 Indian data: kcal/person/day and consumption expenditure per capita (Rs/month) ................................................................................................... 53 Figure A.2.1.4 India: OECD-FAO and FAPRI projections of food (kg/person/year) ......... 55 Figure A.2.1.5 Cross-country relationship between kcal/person/day and HHCE per capita (PPP2005$) for 62 developing countries........................................... 57 Figure A.2.1.6 India: food demand, base year and 2050 ..................................................... 58
  8. 8. 1 CHAPTER 1 OVERVIEW Introduction The perceived limits to producing food for a growing global population have been a source of debate and preoccupations for ages. Already in the third century AD, Tertullian, a church leader, raised the issue.1 The debate gathered momentum in the late eighteenth century, following Malthus, and more recently with Paul Ehrlich’s Population Bomb. Yet, world food production grew faster than population and per capita consumption increased. Population increased to 6.9 billion in 2010, up from 2.5 billion in 1950 and 3.7 billion in 1970. The UN population projections –from the medium variant of the 2008 release employed here– indicate that the world total could reach 9.15 billion in 2050. Thus, we expect an increase of 2.25 billion over the next 40 years, which is lower than the 3.2 billion increase that materialized between 1970 and 2010. This deceleration will impact world agriculture by lowering its rate of growth compared to the past. World average per capita availability of food for direct human consumption, after allowing for waste, animal-feed and non-food uses, improved to 2,770 kcal/person/day in 2005/2007. Thus, in principle, there is sufficient global aggregate food consumption for nearly everyone to be well-fed. Yet this has not happened: some 2.3 billion people live in countries with under 2,500 kcal, and some 0.5 billion in countries with less than 2,000 kcal, while at the other extreme some 1.9 billion are in countries consuming more than 3,000 kcal. The reasons are fairly well known: mainly poverty, which has many facets, but is in many low-income countries linked to failures to develop agriculture and limited access to food produced in other countries. This study aims to provide insights into how the situation may develop to 2050, based on the exogenous assumption that world GDP will be 2.5-fold the present one, and per capita income will be 1.8-fold. All projections are surrounded in uncertainty; but expected developments in food and feed demand are subject to less uncertainty than other variables, particularly demand stemming from novel uses of agricultural products and the underlying land and water resources requirements. Recently, the use of such products as feedstocks for the production of biofuels has been growing in importance: this is the case of maize use for ethanol in the US, of sugar cane in Brazil, of vegetable oils and cereals in the EU to produce biodiesel and ethanol. Should such trends continue, biofuels could prove to be a major disruptive force, possibly benefiting producers but harming low-income consumers. While at present the continuation of these trends does not seem likely, the high degree of uncertainty suggests the need to analyze alternative scenarios, which are not handled in this paper. We rather take into account whatever we know today about present and likely future use of agricultural products for biofuels over the next ten years by relying on projections to 2020 produced by the OECD-FAO medium-term agricultural outlook (OECD-FAO, 2010). Accordingly, we assume that current policies and mandates foreseen to 2020 in major 1 “The scourges of pestilence, famine, wars, and earthquakes have come to be regarded a blessing to overcrowded nations, since they serve to prune away the luxuriant growth of the human race.” De Anima, quoted in Hardin (1998).
  9. 9. 2 producing countries remain in place, and then maintain the same quantities of agricultural products used for biofuels for the subsequent projection years. The main drivers: population and income Assumptions on population growth are derived from the United Nations World Population Prospects-the 2008 Revision (UN, 2009). The expected fall in global demographic growth over the next forty years (0.75 percent per year between 2005/2007 and 2050, down from 1.7 percent between 1963 and 2007) is expected to translate into a reduced growth rate of agricultural consumption. However, it is important to note that the slowdown in global population growth is made up of continuing fast growth in some countries and slowdowns or declines in others. The majority of countries whose population growth is expected to be fast in the future are precisely those showing inadequate food consumption and high levels of undernourishment. Most of them are in sub-Saharan Africa. This region’s population growth rate is expected to fall from 2.8 percent in the past to a still high 1.9 percent per year in the period to 2050, while the rest of the world declines from the past 1.6 percent to 0.55 percent per year. Successive revisions of demographic outlooks, moreover, suggest that population growth in these very countries is projected to slow down much less than previously anticipated: in the 2002 revision of the UN Population Prospects –used in FAO (2006) – sub- Saharan Africa was projected to reach a population of 1,557 million or 17 percent of the world total in 2050. In the projections employed in this study, the region is projected to reach 1,753 million or 19 percent of the world total in 2050. In the just published 2010 revision (UN, 2011), the region’s projected population in 2050 has been raised further to 1,960 million or 21 percent. Such drastic changes in many food-insecure countries can alter significantly the projected developments in world food security. The combination of low per capita food consumption and high population growth in several countries of sub-Saharan Africa can be a serious constraint to improving food security, especially where semi-arid agriculture is predominant and import capacity is limited. In terms of economic growth, the long time horizon of this study implies visualizing a world that, in principle, would be significantly different from the present one. According to some projections to 2050, the world would be immensely richer and characterized by less pronounced relative income gaps between developed and countries currently classified as “developing”, many of which will no longer belong to this group in the future. We kept this traditional classification for the sake of preserving the link between historical experience and possible future outcomes. The GDP assumptions adopted in this study were kindly made available by the Development Prospects Group of the World Bank. This is one of the most conservative scenarios among those available for several countries.2 Still, GDP in 2050 is projected to be a multiple of the current levels, and developing countries are expected to grow faster than developed ones. While in relative terms there will be convergence in per capita incomes, absolute gaps will continue increasing. Will incomes in low-income countries increase sufficiently to reach levels allowing eliminating, or significantly reducing, poverty and the associated undernourishment? On this point we cannot be very sanguine: there are at present 45 developing countries with per capita GDP under $1,000. Fifteen of them may still show less than $1,000 in 2050. This is a rough indication that significant poverty may continue to prevail in 2050 in a world that, according 2 Less conservative GDP projections are available from the World Bank itself (van der Mensbrugghe et al., 2011), the IPPC (2007a), the CEPII (Foure et al., 2010), or PricewaterhouseCoopers (Hacksworth, 2006). For more limited sets of countries projections are also available from Goldman Sachs (2007).
  10. 10. 3 to the GDP projections employed, would be over 80 percent richer in terms of average per capita incomes. Food consumption projections mirror this prospect, with several countries projected to show levels of per capita food consumption that imply persistence of significant prevalence of undernourishment in 2050. Structural changes in diets: towards satiety and over-nutrition Overall demand for agricultural products is expected to grow at 1.1 percent per year from 2005/2007-2050, down from 2.2 percent per year in the past four decades.3 Population growth, increases in per capita consumption and changes in diets leading to the consumption of more livestock products are the main drivers of such expected changes. Significant parts of world population will reach per capita consumption levels that do not leave much scope for further increases. Negative growth rates of aggregate food demand may materialize in countries where per capita consumption levels are or will be high –such as Japan, Russia or others Eastern European countries– as their population starts declining in the later part of the projection period. Most developed countries have largely completed the transition to livestock based diets, while not all developing countries – for instance India – will likely shift in the foreseeable future to levels of meat consumption typical of western diets. Thus the growth of world food production needed to meet the growth of demand will be lower than in the past, even after accounting for increases in per capita consumption and changes in diets. This is a theme running throughout the narrative presenting the findings of the present study. Considering the main regions, of particular interest is the extent to which the two with low and largely inadequate food consumption per capita – sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia – may, unlike it happened in the past, progress to higher levels (Figure 1.1). South Asia’s level is not different from that of 10 or 20 years ago, while sub-Saharan Africa has made some, but totally inadequate, progress. South Asia’s average is heavily weighted with India, which, despite high growth in per capita incomes in the last ten years, is characterized by the paradox that its per capita food consumption (in kcal/person/day) has not improved. In our projections and over the longer term, both regions break with past history of no, or sluggish, improvement: by 2050 they may reach levels near those that the other three developing regions have at present. Other regions, as well as developed countries as a group, will also increase their levels of consumption, even where this seems to be more than sufficient and health reasons would dictate otherwise. Worse, the same phenomenon seems to emerge in several developing countries with low national averages, where significant segments of the population are hit by the obesity epidemic when undernourishment is still widely prevalent. These countries are confronted with a double burden of malnutrition, resulting in novel challenges and strains in their health systems. In the end, some 4.7 billion people or 52 percent of world population may live in countries with national averages of over 3,000 kcal/person/day in 2050, up from 1.9 billion or 28 percent at present. In parallel, those living in countries with under 2,500 kcal may fall from 2.3 billion or 35 percent of world population at present, to 240 million or 2.6 percent in 2050. 3 The terms “demand” and “consumption” are used interchangeably. Unless otherwise specified, both terms comprise all forms of use, i.e. food, feed, seed and industrial use as well as losses and waste. Demand for, as well as supply from, changes in stocks is disregarded in the projections. Given the long time horizon of the study, projections of stock changes would not add much to the main quantifications while unnecessarily complicating the analysis.
  11. 11. 4 Figure 1.1 Per capita food consumption (kcal/person/day) Concerning the commodity composition of food consumption, while developing countries are expected to move towards more livestock products, differences with the consumption levels of meat and milk of developed countries may remain substantial (Figure 1.2). That is, many developing countries will be slow in adopting western type livestock-based diets. Some major countries, like China4 and Brazil, have moved rapidly in that direction. But they are bound to slow down as they reach higher consumption levels, a trend that will be reinforced for aggregate demand by the prospect that both countries are to enter a phase of declining population during the later part of the projection period. Most other developing countries are not following this rapid transition pattern. For some of them it is a question of slow gains in incomes and persistence of significant poverty. But in others, food habits are not changing fast, even under rapid income growth. As mentioned, India is a case in point (in meat, not in milk whose consumption has been growing rapidly), due also to religious factors: taboos on cattle meat in India and pig-meat in Muslim countries are factors that act as a brake to the growth of meat consumption; within the meat sector they favour rapid growth of poultry, which has been gaining market share in total meat consumption for several reasons (price, health attributes). In conclusion, the much heralded meat revolution in the developing countries is likely to remain a slow starter, now that the big push given by China in the past is becoming weaker and other populous countries like India are not following that path with anything like the same force. In developed countries the small increases or declines in per capita consumption will eventually translate into falling aggregate consumption in the later part of the projection period, given that population is projected to peak in the early 2040s.5 Some developing 4 Unless indicated otherwise, references to China refer to China Mainland. 5 We refer to food consumption in terms of primary produce. Aggregate food expenditure may still grow, due to the increasing share of services associated with food consumption. 0 500 1000 1500 2000 2500 3000 3500 4000 World Developed Developing sub-Sahara Africa Near East & North Africa Latin America & Caribbean South Asia East Asia 2005/2007 2050
  12. 12. 5 countries reaching high levels of per capita food consumption and entering a phase of declining population will likely experience similar patterns of aggregate food demand. China for instance, where population is expected to peak in the early 2030s; or Brazil, where population is expected to peak in the early 2040s. To conclude, declining population and the high levels of consumption per capita achieved in some major countries may contribute to slowdown the growth of aggregate demand. What may happen to total consumption of agricultural goods will depend, however, also on the extent to which non-food uses, such as biofuels, take up the slack. A mentioned, this development is only partially analyzed in this paper. Figure 1.2 Food consumption per capita, major commodities (kg/person/year) Commodity specifications and details by region are given in Chapter 2, Tables 2.5 and 2.6. Undernourishment, however, will still be looming large in some regions and population groups Projections of consumption per capita in kcal/person/day (derived from the projections commodity by commodity) are also employed to estimate the prevalence of undernourishment. This is defined as percent of population in each country that is below a Minimum Dietary Energy Requirement – (MDER) (FAO, 2010).6 The 1996 World Food Summit adopted a target of reducing the numbers undernourished in the developing countries by 50 percent by 2015, starting from the average of 1990/1992 which was 810 million. The latest FAO estimate indicates that the numbers were still 827 million in 2005/2007 (FAO, 2010). No progress in reducing them has been made, though the percent of the population 6 The methodology and data for estimating undernourishment are currently under review in FAO (FAO, 2011a:10). 0 25 50 75 100 125 150 175 200 225 250 Cereals Roots/tubers Sugar Veg.oils Meat Milk Cereals Roots/tubers Sugar Veg.oils Meat Milk Cereals Roots/tubers Sugar Veg.oils Meat Milk World Developed Developing 2005/2007 2050
  13. 13. 6 affected did fall from 20 percent to 16 percent. Absolute numbers, however, increased because total population increased. If the target had been set in terms of percent of population, as it was later done for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), some progress would have been registered. Figure 1.3 shows projections of the prevalence of undernourishment in developing countries. Absolute numbers of the undernourished may decline slowly rather than increase as it happened in the past. However, the percent of population that is undernourished is expected to fall by about 4 points to 2015, just as it had between 1990/1992 and 2005/2007, when it was associated with a small increase in the absolute numbers. Now the expected reduction in the percent of population is associated with a decline in the absolute numbers of the undernourished, given that between 2005/2007 and 2015 population is expected to increase less than between 1990/1992 and 2005/2007. Figure 1.3 Prevalence of undernourishment, developing countries 405 810 827 687 543 318 19.7 15.9 11.7 7.9 4.1 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 0 100 200 300 400 500 600 700 800 900 1000 1990/1992 2005/2007 2015 2030 2050 WFS target for 2015 (million) Million Percent of population (right axis) Past 2015, the decline in absolute numbers is estimated to continue. Still, the halving target of the 1996 World Food Summit may not be achieved before the second half of the 2040s. Halving the percentage may instead be achieved shortly after 2015. The reason for such slow projected progress is that countries with low food consumption per capita and high prevalence of undernourishment in 2005/2007 are also those with high population growth, many of them in sub-Saharan Africa. It is noted that the 1996 WFS (absolute) halving target is much more difficult to reach than the Millennium Development Goal target (MDG1), which is set in terms of halving the proportion of people who suffer from hunger between 1990 and 2015. Monitoring progress towards the WFS halving target will always show countries with high population growth rates as making less progress than countries with low population growth rates, even when both make the same progress towards the MDG1 target. Finally, an additional reason why progress may be slow is the increase in the share of adults in total population. This raises the average MDER of the countries and, ceteris paribus, contributes to making the incidence of
  14. 14. 7 undernourishment higher than it would otherwise be. For any given level of national average kcal/person/day, a higher proportion of the population will fall below the new higher MDER. Production growth slows down, but absolute increases are expected to be significant The projected growth rate of total world consumption of all agricultural products is 1.1 percent p.a. from 2005/2007-2050. Since at the world level (but not for individual countries or regions) consumption equals production, this means global production in 2050 should be 60 percent higher than that of 2005/2007. Box 1.1 Measuring the increase in aggregate agricultural production (all crop and livestock products) Here, a small digression is in order. The projections of the earlier study (FAO, 2006) formed the basis on which a number of statements were made in subsequent years as to by how much world agricultural production would increase up to 2050. In particular, in mid-2009 we compared the 2050 projection (that had been generated in 2003-05, from base year 1999/2001) with world agricultural production for 2005/2007, as was known then from provisional data. It implied a 70 percent increase in 44 years (from average 2005/2007-2050). In the current projections the aggregate volume of world agricultural production in 2050 is about the same as in the earlier ones, though the commodity composition and pattern of uses (food, feed, etc) is different (e.g. somewhat less meat but the same 3.0 billion tonnes of cereals with a smaller share going to feed and more to biofuels). However, the revised data for world production in 2005/2007 are now higher than was known provisionally in mid-2009. As a result world production is projected to increase by 60 percent from 2005/2007-2050. In practice, nothing changed in terms of projected aggregate world production. We considered worth putting in this clarification because the 70 percent seems to have assumed a life of its own – see, for example, Economist (2011);Tomlinson (2010); sometimes it has been interpreted (erroneously) as implying 70 percent increase in world production of grain (e.g. Feffer,2011). We hasten to add that the percent increase in the aggregate volume is not a very meaningful indicator. The volume index adds together very dissimilar products (oranges, grain, meat. milk, coffee, oilseeds, cotton, etc) using price weights for aggregation (the issue is explained in more detail in Chapter 3, Box 3.1). Anyone interested in food and agriculture futures can use more meaningful metrics, e.g. tonnes of grain, of meat, food consumption per capita in terms of kg/person/year or kcal/person/day, yields, land use, etc. For this reason we start by giving selected key numbers below. Another point of clarification: the projected increases are those required to match the projected demand as we think it may develop, not what is “required to feed the projected world population or to meet some other normative target”. Our projection is not a normative one: if a country’s income growth, production and import potentials are judged not to be sufficient to raise per capita consumption to levels required for eliminating food insecurity then projected per capita consumption is less than required. Concerning the main product groups, percentage increases shown by growth rates may be small compared with those of the past, but the absolute volumes involved are nonetheless substantial (Figure 1.4). For example, world cereals production is projected to grow at 0.9 percent per year from 2005/2007 to 2050, down from the 1.9 percent per year of 1961-2007. However, world production, which increased by 1,225 million tonnes between 1961/63 and 2005/2007, is projected to increase by another 940 million tonnes in the next 44 years, to reach 3 billion tonnes by 2050.
  15. 15. 8 Figure 1.4 World production and use, major products (million tonnes) Achieving such production increases will not be easier than in the past; rather, the contrary often holds for a number of reasons. Land and water resources are now much more stressed than in the past and are becoming scarcer, both in quantitative terms (per capita) and qualitative ones, following soil degradation, salinization of irrigated areas and competition from uses other than for food production. Growth of crop yields has slowed down considerably, and fears are expressed that the trend may not reverse. The issue is not whether yields would grow at the past high rates, as they probably would not, apart from the individual countries and crops. Rather, the issue is whether the lower growth potential, together with modest increases in cultivated land, is sufficient to meet the increased requirements. Climate change, furthermore, looms large as a risk that would negatively affect the production potentials of agricultural resources in many areas of the world. In general, the sustainability of the food production system is being questioned. Doubts are cast on the possibility to continue doing more of the same, that is, using high levels of external inputs in production, increasing the share of livestock in total output, expanding cultivated land and irrigation, and transporting products over long distances. Many advocate the need for “sustainable intensification” of production (Royal Society, 2009; Nature, 2010; Godfray et al., 2010). Will it be possible to achieve the projected quantities of production? We shall show what we consider are possible combinations of land and water use and yield growth that could underlie the production projections. Trade will expand, especially from and to developing countries Developing countries have been traditionally net importers of cereals: net exporters of rice and net importers of wheat and coarse grains. The great majority of developing countries are growing net importers, some very large ones, for instance Mexico, Saudi Arabia, the Republic of Korea, Egypt, Algeria and Taiwan Province of China. At the same time, net exporting developing countries have been increasing their exports. To the traditional net exporters of South America and the rice exporters of Asia have been added recently for most years India 258 455 195 341 149 282 2068 3009 0 500 1000 1500 2000 2500 3000 3500 0 200 400 600 800 1000 1200 1400 2005/ 2007 2050 2005/ 2007 2050 2005/ 2007 2050 2005/ 2007 2050 Meat Sugar cane/beet in raw sugar equiv. Oilcrops & products in oil equiv. Cereals (wheat, coarse grains, milled rice) - right axis Food Non-food (incl. waste) Total production
  16. 16. 9 and China. These two countries, traditional exporters of rice, have become net exporters of other cereals. China’s net exports of coarse grains grew from about the mid-80s; India has been an occasional net exporter of wheat in the last decade. Their role as net exporters of cereals may be diminished in the future, but the traditional exporters as a group would increase further their exports, and countries like Brazil may also become a net exporter. Developing countries as a group are projected to continue increasing their net imports of cereals from the rest of the world. This will mirror increasing net exports of developed countries as a group (Figure 1.5). Traditional exporters such as North America, the EU and Australia have increased sales only modestly in the last decade, while new entrants such as the Russian Federation and Ukraine have been supplying a growing share of world exports. These trends are projected to continue and the latter two countries will become of increasing importance as suppliers of wheat and coarse grains. Figure 1.5 Developing countries: net cereals trade (million tonnes) A country is defined as net importer or exporter according to its net balance in each year. Developments in other major commodity groups suggest continuing buoyancy of trade in oilseeds and derived products. Many developing countries will continue increasing vegetable oil imports for food purposes, while imports in developed countries will continue primarily for non-food uses, including biodiesel production. Increasingly, exports will be supplied by major exporters from Southeast Asia and South America. Developed countries as a whole are expected to become growing net importers. Trade in meat has been characterized by fairly rapid import growth in Japan and the Russian Federation, as well in some developing countries. Developing countries as a group have become growing net importers of meat from the mid-1970s, but this trend has been reversed in recent years following the expansion of exports from Brazil. In the projection period, it is expected that increases in imports by developing countries will be counterbalanced by exports from the same country group. In parallel, import requirements by the major developed importers are likely to decline in the long term as their consumption slows down, following population declines and attainment of high levels of per capita -140 -168 -196 -350 -300 -250 -200 -150 -100 -50 0 50 100 150 200 250 300 350 1970 1980 1990 2000 2010 2020 2030 2040 2050 Net importers Net exporters Net imports-all countries
  17. 17. 10 consumption. The net result will likely be that the major developed exporters of meat will see little growth, a trend pointing to an eventual decline in their net exports in the longer term. How will production respond? Some more land and water use, with yields slowing down As mentioned above, resource constraints for agricultural production have become more stringent than in the past while growth of yields is slowing down. This is a primary reason why people express fears that there are growing risks that world food production may not be enough to feed a growing population and ensure food security for all. It is worth recalling, in this respect, that food security is only weakly linked to the capacity of the world as a whole to produce food, to the point of becoming nearly irrelevant, at least for two reasons: (a) there are sufficient spare food production resources in certain parts of the world, waiting to be employed if only economic and institutional frameworks would so dictate; (b) production constraints are and will continue to be important determinants of food security; however, they operate and can cause Malthusian situations to prevail, at the local level and often because in many such situations production constraints affect negatively not only the possibility of increasing food supplies but can be veritable constraints to overall development and prime causes of the emergence of poverty traps. The proposition that ensuring food security for the growing population will become increasingly difficult because there are today fewer unused land and water resources and more limited yield growth potential compared to the past is not a good yardstick for judging future prospects. Rather, the issue is whether resources are sufficient for meeting future requirements that, as noted, will be growing at a much lower rate than in the past. This paper analyzes prospects for the main agronomic parameters underlying projections of production. Concerning land, information on the suitability for crop production – undertaken by IIASA and FAO in the Global Agro-ecological Zones study (GAEZ) which updated an earlier version (Fischer et al., 2002, 2011) – indicates that at the global level there is a significant amount of land with rainfed production potential of various degrees of suitability: 7.2 billion hectares (ha), of which 1.6 billion is currently in use for crop production, including irrigated. Land-in-use includes some 75 million ha which in the GAEZ evaluation are classified as non- suitable. Part of such non-suitable land-in-use is made-up of irrigated desert. This leaves a balance of 5.7 billion ha. However not all of it should be considered as potentially usable for crop production, for two reasons. Firstly, 2.8 billion ha is under forest, in protected areas or is already occupied by non-agricultural uses which will be growing in the future, such as human settlements, infrastructure, etc; and, secondly, 1.5 billion ha of the remaining 2.9 billion is of poor quality for rainfed crops, classified as marginally suitable and very marginally suitable, no matter that the land presently in use includes some 220 million ha of such land of which 47 million ha is irrigated. This leaves some 1.4 billion ha of prime land (class very suitable in the GAEZ classifications) and good land (classes suitable and moderately suitable) that could be brought into cultivation if needed, albeit often at the expense of pastures and requiring considerable development investments, e.g. infrastructures, fighting diseases, etc. (Figure 1.6).
  18. 18. 11 Figure 1.6 World land availability with potential for rainfed crops (million ha) Source: Chapter 4, Table 4.6 (from the GAEZ). What part of this reserve may come under cultivation in the future? Not much, given the projected moderate growth in crop production and the potential to obtain the production increases by raising yields rather than area expansion. We project that for the world as a whole, net-land under crops may have to increase by some 70 million ha by 2050 (increase in the developing countries, decline in the developed). The area harvested may increase by almost twice that amount as a result of increased multiple cropping and reduced fallows. The projected 70 million ha increase is the result of a 132 million ha expansion in the countries that are projected to increase land under crops (most of it in countries of sub- Saharan Africa and Latin America), and a 63 million ha decline in countries that are projected to reduce it (most of it in the developed countries but some also in developing ones). Assuming all the increase will take place in land classified as prime and good outside forest and protected areas presently, it will account for only a small part of the 1.4 billion ha of the global land reserve in these classes, and there may remain some 1.3 billion ha free but usable land in 2050 (Figure 1.7). The above discussion may create the impression that there are no land constraints to increasing production. That would be wrong. Spare land is often not readily accessible due to, for instance, lack of infrastructure or because it is located in areas far away from markets or because it suffers from other constraints such as the incidence of disease. All these factors can make it very costly and uneconomical to exploit for agriculture. Secondly, and most important, much of the spare land is located in a small number of countries, therefore land constraints can be significant at the country or regional level. Thirteen countries account for 60 percent of the 1.4 million ha in the classes prime and good which is not yet in crop production and not in forest, protected areas or built-up7 , and the distribution of yet unexploited lands is very unequal even at the regional level (Figure 1.7). 7 In ascending order: Madagascar, Mozambique, Canada, Angola, Kazakhstan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, China, the Sudan, Australia, Argentina, Russian Federation, the United States of America, and Brazil. 381 682 177 43 61 135 47 32 349 1064 1522 524 1299 992 1315 3180 2738 0 500 1000 1500 2000 2500 3000 3500 Prime land Good land Marginal land Not suitable By suitability class for rainfed production In use rainfed In use irrigated Spare usable Forest/protected/built-up Total
  19. 19. 12 Figure 1.7 Land in use at present, increase to 2050 and remaining balance in 2050 Source: Chapter 4, Tables 4.7-4.8. Note: the data for land presently in use refer predominantly to 1999/2001 (from the GAEZ), but supplemented by data from FAOSTAT for 2005/2007. Thus, it is not very relevant to speak of global numbers concerning abundance or scarcity of land resources. Countries that face land scarcities and would need to expand food supplies will not necessarily have access to the productive potential of these lands. This constraint can lead to increased trade or, as recent experience has shown, to investments in land where this is abundant or eventually to migration. These are not very promising avenues for poor and food-insecure countries with high demographic growth and scarcity of own land and water resources. Thus, local resource scarcities will likely continue to be a veritable constraint in the quest for achieving food security for all. Water is another critical resource. Irrigation has been an important contributor to yield growth that underpinned much of the production increases over the past decades. Yields of irrigated crops are well above those of rainfed ones: even if they would remain unchanged in the future, a shift from rainfed to irrigated production systems would per se imply an increase in average yields. World irrigated areas are estimated to be some 300 million ha, more than twice the level of the early 1960s. This refers to the area equipped for irrigation, 80-90 percent of which is thought to be in use. The potential for further expansion of irrigation, however, is limited. There are plenty of renewable water resources globally; but they are extremely scarce in regions such as the Near East/North Africa, or Northern China, where they are most needed. It must also be noted that the very concept of irrigation potential for further expansion is not unambiguous: renewable water resources that are adequate for irrigating any given amount of land today may not be so in the future, as non-irrigation claims on water resources may reduce availability for irrigation. Moreover, potential impacts of climate change may alter precipitation and evapotranspiration patterns, hence affecting renewable water 57 50 34 66 61 69 183 152 50 140 175 555 51 49 -38 400 314 37 4 94 485 -200 0 200 400 600 800 1000 1200 sub-Sahara Africa Latin America Near East/North Africa South Asia East Asia Developed In use - marginal (incl. irrigated desert) In use prime & good Change of "in use" to 2050 Usable balance 2050 (prime & good)
  20. 20. 13 resources8 . Likewise, irrigation based on non-renewable resources, e.g. using fossil water in desert irrigation schemes, is not counted in the irrigation potential. Subject to these provisos, it is estimated that globally there remain some 180 million ha in developing countries (no estimates are available for the developed countries) that offer possibilities for irrigation expansion, beyond the 235 million ha presently equipped in these countries. We project that 20 million ha of this reserve may be used by 2050 for net expansion in developing countries, making for total projected area of 253 million ha in these countries and a world total of 322 million ha, given that irrigated area in the developed countries should remain at around the present 68 million ha. This amount is in addition to whatever new irrigation is required to replace the part of existing irrigated areas that may be irremediably lost to degradation, water shortages, etc. By implication, in 2050 the remaining yet unexploited reserve in the developing countries will be less, probably much less, than 160 million ha if the global area equipped and usable for agriculture is to be 322 million ha in 2050. Gross investment in irrigation over the entire period to 2050 would need to be a multiple of that implied by the small net expansion, because existing irrigation schemes depreciate and need to be restored or replaced. Rough estimates of such investment requirements are given in Schmidhuber, Bruinsma and Bödeker (2011). Most of the world irrigated agriculture is today in developing countries. It accounts for some 40 percent of their harvested area under cereals but for some 60 percent of their cereals production. Nearly one half of the irrigated area of the developing countries is in India and China. One third of the projected increase will likely be in these two countries (Figure 1.8). The renewable water resources that would underpin the expansion of irrigation are extremely scarce in several countries. Irrigation water withdrawals from such resources are only 6.6 percent globally and even less in some regions. However, in the Near East/North Africa and in South Asia they already account for 52 percent and 40 percent respectively, in 2005/2007; For some countries these percentages are higher, even though they are part of regions with overall plentiful resources, e.g. some countries of Central America and the Caribbean. Any country using more than 20 percent of its renewable resources for irrigation is considered as crossing the threshold of impending water scarcity. There are already 22 countries (developing but including some in the Central Asia region) that have crossed this threshold, 13 of them in the critical over 40 percent class. It is estimated that four countries (Libya, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Egypt) use volumes of water for irrigation larger than their annual renewable resources. For these and many other countries the scope for maintaining irrigated production, let alone obtaining increases, depends crucially on exploiting whatever margins there exist for using irrigation water more efficiently9 . This can provide some limited relief in the water scarce regions, particularly in the region that needs it most, the Near East/North Africa. Finally, concerning yields, as noted, they have been the mainstay of production increases in the past. For cereals, the world average yield was 1.44 tonnes/ha in the first half of the 1960s (average 1961-65), 2.4 tonnes/ha in the first half of the 1980s and is now 8 Renewable water resources of a given area are defined as the sum of the annual precipitation and net incoming flows (transfers through rivers from one area to another) minus evapotranspiration, runoff and groundwater recharge. 9 Water use efficiency in irrigation: the ratio between the crop water requirements and irrigation water withdrawals. Crop water requirements are estimated as consumptive water use in irrigation (deficit between potential crop evapotranspiration and precipitation minus runoff and groundwater recharge) plus water needed for land preparation (and weed control in the case of paddy rice).
  21. 21. 14 3.4 tonnes/ha (average 2005/2007). On average it has been growing in a nearly perfect linear fashion with increments of 44 kg/year on average, as it can be seen in Figure 1.9. A linear growth pattern implies a falling growth rate: 44 kg was 3.1 percent of the 1.44 tonnes/ha of the early 1960s, but it was 1.8 percent of the 2.4 tonnes/ha of the early 1980s and only 1.3 percent of the current 3.4 tonnes/ha. Recently, this has become a source of concern about the capacity of world agriculture to produce enough food for the growing population. Is this concern justified? Figure 1.8 Irrigated area, 2005/2007 and 2050 (million ha) Source: Chapter 4, Table 4.10. Up to about 2006 the world was abundantly supplied with cereals, while the growth rate of yields kept falling. This is evidenced by the trend towards decline of the real price of cereals, at least up to the mid-1980s, and its near constancy thereafter up to the major rise in the price index in the years 2007-08. While the price rise was the result of confluence of many factors, a major one has been the sudden spurt in demand caused by the diversion of significant quantities of cereals to the production of biofuels (Alexandratos, 2008; Mitchell, 2008). If such spurts in demand from the non-food sector were repeated in the future (something not foreseen in these projections), the falling growth rate of yields could prove to be significant constraint to meeting projected demand. However, with the projected slowdown in the growth of demand a further decline in the growth rate of yields, unless it were nearly catastrophic, would be compatible with the need to produce the quantities required. If the linear growth of cereal yields continued at 44 kg/year, by 2050 the growth rate would have fallen further to 0.8 percent p.a. Yet the world would be producing more grain than required by the projected demand even if there were no increase in the area cultivated. This is because even with this falling growth rate of yield, in 2050 the 68 127 51 31 20 6 1 7 4 3 3 1 0 20 40 60 80 100 120 140 Developed India and China Other South & East Asia Near East / North Africa Latin America sub-Saharan Africa 2005/07 Increase to 2050
  22. 22. 15 average would have grown to 5.42 tonnes/ha by 2050, and world production would be 3.8 billion tonnes, hence more than our projected demand of 3.28 billion tonnes.10 While analysing the matter at hand in terms of global averages is fairly meaningless, it is nonetheless instructive for illuminating the debate on the significance of the decline of the global yield growth rate for food security in the long term future. What matters, however, is what individual countries can achieve in the light of their prospective needs for increasing production, their resource endowments and initial conditions. Several countries and regions have a long history of near stagnant yields and resource endowments and policy environments that are not very promising. Based on a country by country and crop by crop examination, and distinguishing between rainfed and irrigated production, we estimate that global cereals yields could grow from 3.3 tonnes/ha in the base year to 4.30 tonnes/ha in 2050 (Figure 1.9). Figure 1.9 World cereals, average yield and harvested area Much depends also on the type of cereals that would be needed to meet the future demand – wheat, rice or coarse grains. Roughly the same pattern applies: the world average wheat yield is projected to rise from 2.8 tonnes/ha in the base year to 3.8 in 2050; it would have reached 4.8 if the linear trend continued to 2050. Rice yield rises from 4.1 tonnes/ha to 5.3 tonnes/ha (vs. 6.5) and coarse grains, most of which is maize, from 3.2 tonnes/ha to 4.2 tonnes/ha (vs. 5.2 in the extrapolation). As noted, these global averages are a composite of a multitude of projections for the individual countries and cereal crops in a fair amount of detail11 , distinguishing between rainfed and irrigated yield gains and area expansion (in some 10 These cereal quantities include rice in paddy – as is appropriate when we discuss yields –and the 3.28 billion tonnes is equivalent to the 3 billion tonnes for 2050 we presented earlier which includes rice in milled form as is appropriate when we discuss consumption. 11 For example, areas and yields for coarse grains are projected separately for maize, barley, sorghum, millet and other coarse grains. 3.32 3.98 4.30 703 749 763 y = 0.0443x - 85.44 R² = 0.991 0 200 400 600 800 1000 1200 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2010 2020 2030 2040 2050 Yield historical data 1961-2009 Yield projected Harvested area historical data 1961-2009 Harvested area projected Linear (Yield historical data 1961-2009)
  23. 23. 16 countries area contraction as prospective yield increases are more than sufficient to meet their projected demand – domestic and for net export as the case may be). Not all projections follow the implicit global pattern of yields growing less fast than indicated by a continuation of the linear trends. This is true even for country group averages like regions and, a fortiori, for those of the individual countries. Figure 1.10 provides an illustration of average regional coarse grains yields showing contrasting outcomes for sub- Saharan Africa (projected yields well above those implied by a trend continuation) and Latin America (opposite) (Figure 1.10). Figure 1.10 Coarse grain yield, sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America Coarse grain yield, sub-Saharan Africa, tonnes/ha Coarse grain yield, Latin America, tonnes/ha The key question is not so much whether global average yields can continue growing at the rates experienced in the past, but rather whether some countries and regions can in the future deviate from the past path of nearly stagnant yields, as it is the case for coarse grains in sub-Saharan Africa. As indicated in a recent World Bank paper, technical and resource potential seems to be available in many countries of Sub-Saharan Africa, at least for maize (Smale et al., 2011). And similar evidence seems to hold for other major food crops of the region, such as cassava, whose yield may grow much faster than indicated by past trends (Nweke et al., 2002). However, much depends on assumptions of the policy environment, and on the possibility that it may become more supportive than in the past, as assumed in this paper. World average yields for other major crops follow similar patterns to those of cereals. To conclude, falling growth rates of global average yields are not necessarily a harbinger of impending catastrophe; rather, local constraints to increasing yields can be. These may limit the role that yield growth can play in improving local food supplies in countries which mostly need them. Such constraints can be agro-ecological, for instance in the case of dryland millets and sorghum in the Sudano-Sahelian zone; but they can be combined with inadequate investment in agricultural research and other policies, or with near exhaustion 1.04 1.67 2.30 y = 0.0084x - 15.815 R² = 0.8491 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2010 2020 2030 2040 2050 Historical data 1961-2009 Projected Linear (Historical data 1961-2009) 3.36 4.32 4.88 y = 0.0487x - 94.621 R² = 0.9425 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2010 2020 2030 2040 2050 Historical data 1961-2009 Projected Linear (Historical data 1961- 2009)
  24. 24. 17 of the exploitable yield gap in countries that are already achieving fairly high yields (Bruinsma, 2011; Fischer, T. et al., 2011). Global resources are sufficient, but the devil is local Based on our assessment of world agricultural resources, it seems that at the global level there should be no major constraints to increasing agricultural produce by the amounts required to satisfy the additional demand generated by population and income growth to 2050. Agricultural output as a whole would increase by about 60 percent over the levels of 2005/2007, for both food and non-food uses, but with the latter including only moderate increases in the use of crops as feedstocks for producing biofuels. This conclusion reflects mainly the prospect that global demand will grow at much lower rates than in the past, for the following reasons. • First, population growth will be lower than in the past, and population will peak and decline in several major countries and regions such as Japan, Europe, China and Brazil. • Second, more countries and population groups will be gradually attaining levels of per capita food consumption beyond which there is little scope for major further increases. Structural changes in diets, at the same time, will continue to determine shifts from staples to livestock products and fruit and vegetables. • Third, while these factors will impact the bulk of world demand and make it grow at rates lower than in the past, there are several countries which will need to increase food consumption faster than in the past: they are those that start with low levels of food consumption per capita and many of them will continue to have high population growth rates. However, such potential may not be expressed fully as effective demand in all of them because they may still have low incomes and significant poverty for a long time to come. 45 of the 98 developing countries we project individually have presently incomes per capita of less than $1,000; 15 of them may still have incomes under $1,000 in 2050 according to the economic growth projections used here. There are 65 countries with food/capita under 2700 kcal/person/day and a population of 2.8 billion: 16 of them, with a population of 800 million, may still have less than 2700 kcal/person/day in 2050. These developments imply that world production would need to increase at rates much lower than in the past, e.g. total agricultural output by 1.1 percent p.a. from 2005/2007 to 2050, down from 2.2 percent p.a. in the preceding equal period, and cereals by 0.9 percent p.a. vs. 1.9 percent. Notwithstanding lower growth rates, absolute quantities involved are substantial: cereals production must increase by 940 million tonnes to reach 3 billion tonnes projected for 2050; meat by 196 million tonnes to reach 455 million tonnes by 2050; and oilcrops by 133 million tonnes to reach 282 million tonnes (oil equivalent) by2050. The fact that world’s natural resources and the yield growth potential may be sufficient to attain these increases represents per se no guarantee that such increases will be forthcoming. Underlying our projections is the assumption that the necessary investments will be undertaken, and the right policies will be followed providing incentives to farmers, particularly in countries whose food demand must be primarily satisfied by domestic production. These are global magnitudes, but they are built up from country by country and commodity by commodity projections. If we had analysed the issues by treating the world as one entity or a few major regions, we could stop here and conclude that all is well and there are no major constraints to producing all the food required for the growing population and the improvement of per capita consumption to levels that would eliminate hunger and some more. However, as often, the devil is in the details. It is recalled that thirteen countries account for
  25. 25. 18 60 percent of the 1.4 billion ha of the global land classified as prime or good for rainfed crop production but not yet so used, and that are not in forest, protected areas or built-up. At the other extreme, many countries have no such land reserves left, and often cultivate land of marginal quality. Addressing the issue how much and what food can be produced or imported in each country, forces us to tone down such optimism. This is because, as noted, several countries start with adverse initial conditions, of low national average food availability, high undernourishment, high population growth and also poor land and water resource endowments. Since they have to depend predominantly on own production for food supplies, it is difficult to visualize a situation whereby they raise national average per capita food consumption to levels that ensure that no segment of their population will have per capita food below minimum requirements for good nutrition. As all statements about possible future states of the world, our projections are subject to many uncertainties. Some of them, specific to food security outcomes, all referring to downside risks, are worth listing here. • Successive revisions of the population projections suggest that some negative aspects of population growth may be more serious than incorporated in this study. It is not so much that projected global population may turn out to be higher (9.3 billion in 2050 in the 2010 release of the UN projections) than the 9.15 billion assumed in the projections used here (from the 2008 release). The additional food required could be easily produced globally. The problem is that all of the increment and some more (206 million) originates in upward revisions in the projected population of sub-Saharan Africa. This does not augur well for the food security prospects of the region and the world. The improvements projected in this study may turn out to be too optimistic if the new population projections materialized. • Climate change may also affect adversely the prospect of achieving the food security improvements projected in this study. Most climate models indicate that the agricultural potential of the developing countries may be more adversely affected than the world average. The high dependence of several of them on agriculture makes them particularly vulnerable in this respect. Studies that have looked into this matter provide very disparate answers ranging from catastrophic to mildly pessimistic (see Alexandratos, 2011b for a critical evaluation of such findings as of 2009). • Finally, the increased integration between agriculture and the energy market fostered by the growing use of crops in biofuels production represents a potential disrupting element in the future. Much of the biofuels production in some of the major producing countries is currently driven by mandates and subsidies. However, should economic realities dictate and energy prices increase significantly, biofuels may become competitive without support policies. The option that biofuels could expand only into land not suitable for food crop production is not tenable in an environment of laissez-faire markets. Given the disproportionately large size of the energy markets relative to those for food and the stronger economic position of those demanding more energy vs. those needing more food, care must be taken to protect access to food by vulnerable population groups in the face of rising food prices. At the same time, it must be recognized that judiciously expanded biofuels sector has the potential of benefiting development in countries with abundant resources suitable for the production of biofuel feedstocks.
  26. 26. 19 What’s next? Beyond 2050 Imagine you are in 2050 and the projections we have presented have come true. How should we speculate about future developments, say to 2100? Can our conclusions for the projection period to 2050 provide some clues as to what may be in store beyond 2050? Looking at global magnitudes first, the slowdown in world population growth was a major reason why we concluded that there will be lower growth in world agriculture in the period to 2050 compared with the past. The same demographic projections employed in this paper – 2008 release, Medium Variant – suggest that the slowdown is to accelerate beyond 2050, reaching a peak of 9.43 billion in 2075 and then decline to 9.2 billion in 2100. After 2050 many countries will enter a phase of population decline. Of the 110 countries/groups in our study, eight are projected to have in 2050 lower population than in the base year 2005/2007; this number will increase to 47 countries between 2050 and 2100, and will include giants like India and China, along with the Russian Federation, Japan, Brazil, and Indonesia. In the more recent demographic projections (UN, 2011) world population would reach 10.1 billion in 2100. There will still be 51 of our countries/groups with lower population in 2100 than in 2050, including the large ones mentioned above. However, many other countries are projected to have in 2050 and 2100 populations well above those of the earlier projections of 2008 used in this study (see below). In any case, the increments in world population between 2050 and 2100 would be immensely smaller than those of the preceding 50 years. By implication, the rate at which population pressures will be building on world agriculture would continue to diminish over time. The other major factor contributing to the global slowdown of agriculture in our projections to 2050 is the gradual attainment by a growing share of world population of medium/high per capita food consumption levels beyond which the scope for further increases is small. We started with a global average of 2770 kcal/person/day in 2005/2007. Country by country and commodity by commodity projections indicated that this quantity could rise to 3070 kcal/person/day by 2050. We can safely assume that the slowdown effect will be stronger after 2050. Such effect on aggregate agriculture will be reinforced by the prospect that most countries experiencing population declines are those which in 2050 are projected to show high levels of per capita food consumption. For example, one person less in a country consuming 80 kg of meat per capita generates a deficit of 80 kg in global demand, which ceteris paribus is only partly compensated by 3 additional persons in countries with 20 kg per capita. We may conclude that for the world as a whole the pressures on agriculture to produce more food for the growing population will increase beyond 2050 by much less than indicated in our projections for the period to 2050. In order to get an idea of the magnitudes involved we extended in a rough and ready manner and for selected variables the projections from 2050 to 2080, the year just past the peak of world population according to the 2008 UN population projections. It results that global agricultural production would need to grow at 0.4 percent per year from 2050 to 2080, i.e. less than half the growth rate projected for the period 2005/2007- 2050 (Table 1.1).
  27. 27. 20 Table 1.1 Key variables beyond 2050 2005/2007 2050 2080 2100 Population (million)- UN 2008 Revision 6 592 9 150 9 414 9 202 Population (million)- UN 2010 Revision 6 584 9 306 9 969 10 125 kcal/person/day 2 772 3 070 3 200 Cereals, food (kg/capita) 158 160 161 Cereals, all uses (kg/capita) 314 330 339 Meat, food (kg/capita) 38.7 49.4 55.4 Oilcrops (oil. equiv.), Food (kg/cap) 12.1 16.2 16.9 Oilcrops (oil. equiv.), all uses (kg/cap) 21.9 30.5 33.8 Cereals, production (million tonnes) 2 068 3 009 3 182 Meat, production (million tonnes) 258 455 524 Cereal yields (tonnes/ha; rice paddy) 3.32 4.30 4.83 Arable land area (million ha) 1 592 1 661 1 630 Barring major upheavals coming from climate change and the energy sector or other events that are difficult to foresee – such as wars or major natural catastrophes leaving long- enduring impacts – world agriculture should face no major constraints to producing all the food needed for the population of the future, provided that the research/investment/policy requirements and the objective of sustainable intensification continue to be priorities. In principle, due to the reasons mentioned above, we may see further reductions in land used in crop production in several countries, particularly those that would face declining aggregate domestic demand. Even moderate yield growth, at much lower rates than projected to 2050, would be sufficient to meet the growth of global demand. For example, the increase in world cereals production to 2080 could be achieved through a combination of yields growing further from the 4.3 tonnes/ha we projected for 2050 (Figure 1.9) to 4.8 tonnes/ha in 2080, while harvested area in cereals could be reduced by some 50 million ha from the 763 million we projected for 2050. As regards arable land use for all crops, which is projected to increase globally from 1.59 billion ha at present to 1.66 billion ha in 2050 (Figure 1.7), it may decline to 1.63 billion ha by 2080. Irrigation requirements may also be somewhat smaller in 2080 than projected for 2050. Such outcomes would, of course, be the net result of continuing increases in arable and harvested areas in some countries and declines in others. The important thing to note is that globally total arable land for crop production may peak before 2080. However, if the radical upward revisions of the population projections in sub-Saharan Africa (the region that has the potential of expanding agriculture by means of area increases) this conclusion must be interpreted with caution. As for the 2050 scenario, the prospect that the world as a whole may not face major constraints to producing all the food required is not equivalent to saying that food insecurity will be eliminated. As noted several times in this paper, examining the issue of food insecurity by means of global variables (e.g. can the world produce all the food needed for everyone to be well-fed?) is largely devoid of meaning. Several developing countries may still have in 2050 per capita incomes and food consumption that imply persistence of significant incidence of undernourishment. As shown in Figure 2.9, 27 developing countries with a population of 1.36 billion (18 percent of the total) may still have over 5% incidence of undernourishment, 11 of them with a population of 436 million in the over 10% category. Thus for a number of countries the “initial conditions in 2050” (as depicted in our projections) will continue to be such that imply persistence of food insecurity past 2050, though at gradually declining levels.
  28. 28. 21 This is particularly so in the light of the new population projections which have sharp upward revisions in a number of countries among those facing such adverse projected conditions in 2050. Overall, the population of the group of the above-mentioned 27 countries with more than 5 percent undernourishment in 2050 was projected to rise from the 1.36 billion in 2050 to 1.77 billion in 2100 in the 2008 population projections. The new demographic projections of 2010 indicate that their population may rise from the (revised) 1.42 billion in 2050 to 2.22 billion in 2100, with some countries having much more pronounced upwards revisions.12 This has the potential of changing radically the pace at which further progress towards elimination of undernourishment could evolve. For example, Zambia was projected to have a population increase from 12 million in our base year (average 2005/2007) and the estimated 43% undernourishment (in FAO, 2010) to 29 million in 2050 (with undernourishment falling to under 10% in our projections) and on to 39 million in 2100. It would be reasonable to expect that the country could look forward to the near complete elimination of undernourishment in the decades immediately following 2050, and certainly by 2100. However, the new demographic outlook can change completely the prospects: the country’s population is now projected to be 45 (not 29) million in 2050 and a very high 140 (not 39) million in 2100. Any confidence we may have had for the solution of the problem shortly after 2050 is certainly shaken. There are several other countries in analogous situations though none with such stark upward revision of the demographic outlook. In conclusion, the issue whether food insecurity will be eliminated by the end of the century is clouded in uncertainty, no matter that from the standpoint of global production potential there should be no insurmountable constraints. Even at the regional level constraints may not prove binding. Africa, where most of the countries with still significant food insecurity in 2050 will be (according to our projections), has significant food production resources to support the needed agricultural development. As shown in a recent World Bank study, Africa’s agricultural “sleeping giant”, the region’s Guinea Savannah zone, offers good prospects for the development of commercial agriculture (World Bank, 2009); and recent studies on water resources hold that the region has significant underground water stocks which exceed those of the traditional renewable resources (MacDonald et al., 2012). In parallel, the region’s energy resources hold promise for the overall economic development of many countries in the region13 , provided that the notorious “resource curse” can be avoided (Sachs and Warner, 2001). In all this discussion, talking about food security prospects over the very long term induced us to give more prominence to demographic factors than would normally be the case when discussing medium term (10-20 years) prospects. This is because in a number of countries populations are projected to be sizeable multiples of current ones: in the above mentioned case of Zambia, population in 2100 is projected to be nearly 11-fold that of 2010. Other countries with high multiples include the Niger, Malawi, Somalia, the United Republic 12 This group includes also countries with downward revisions in their projected population, Bangladesh being the most prominent one. The 2008 projections had a population of 222 million in 2050 (used in our projections) and 210 million in 2100. These numbers have been revised in the 2010 issue of the population projections to 194 million and 157 million, respectively. This revision largely reflects new historical data, e.g. the country’s 2005/2007 (our base year) population was revised from 155 million to 142 million. We have already referred to the uncertainties associated with exercises like the present one arising out of the demographic variables used. Not only are the projections uncertain but in some cases so are the estimates of the country’s present and past population. 13 “African energy: Eastern El Dorado? At long last East Africa is beginning to realise its energy potential”, Economist, 07 April 2012.
  29. 29. 22 of Tanzania, Burkina Faso and others. Such demographic futures can set the stage for persistence of food insecurity for a long time, particularly when they concern low-income countries with poor agricultural resources and high dependence on the sector for employment and income. Very high population increases are not the only aspect of demographic futures that may affect food security outcomes. The evolving demographic picture may also impact the development prospects, and perhaps also those of food security, in countries at the other end of the spectrum: those that experience drastic population declines. The accompanying changes in demographic structures in favour of aging populations can represent real brakes on the economies, mainly, but not only, via the increasing dependency rates, reduced dynamism and the growing stress on public finances.
  30. 30. 23 CHAPTER 2 PROSPECTS FOR FOOD AND NUTRITION 2.1 The broad picture: historical developments and present situation 2.1.1 Progress made in raising food consumption per person Food consumption, in terms of kcal/person/day, is the key variable used for measuring and evaluating the evolution of the world food situation14 . The world has made significant progress in raising food consumption per person. In the last three and a half decades it increased from an average of 2370 kcal/person/day to 2770 kcal/person/day (Table 2.1). This growth was accompanied by significant structural change. Diets shifted towards more livestock products, vegetable oils, etc. and away from staples such as roots and tubers (Tables 2.5 and 2.6). Table 2.1 Per capita food consumption (kcal/person/day) New historical data Projections Comparison 1999/2001 1969/ 1971 1979/ 1981 1989/ 1991 1990/ 1992 2005/ 2007 2015 2030 2050 New Old World 2 373 2 497 2 634 2 627 2 772 2 860 2 960 3 070 2 719 2 789 Developing countries 2 055 2 236 2 429 2 433 2 619 2 740 2 860 3 000 2 572 2 654 -excluding South Asia 2 049 2 316 2 497 2 504 2 754 2 870 2 970 3 070 2 680 2 758 Sub-Saharan Africa 2 031 2 021 2 051 2 068 2 238 2 360 2 530 2 740 2 136 2 194 Near East / North Africa 2 355 2 804 3 003 2 983 3 007 3 070 3 130 3 200 2 975 2 974 Latin America and the Caribbean 2 442 2 674 2 664 2 672 2 898 2 990 3 090 3 200 2 802 2 836 South Asia 2 072 2 024 2 254 2 250 2 293 2 420 2 590 2 820 2 303 2 392 East Asia 1 907 2 216 2 487 2 497 2 850 3 000 3 130 3 220 2 770 2 872 Developed countries 3 138 3 223 3 288 3 257 3 360 3 390 3 430 3 490 3 251 3 257 The gains in the world average reflected predominantly those of the developing countries, given that the developed ones had fairly high levels of per capita food consumption already in the past. In the latter, there was a decline in the 1990s, and subsequent recovery (Figure 2.1), which reflected the transformations in the former centrally planned economies of Europe. For the developing countries, the overall progress has been decisively influenced by the significant gains made by some of the most populous among them This can be appreciated 14 The more correct term for this variable would be “national average apparent food consumption or availability”, since the data come from the national Food Balance Sheets rather than from consumption surveys. The term “food consumption” is used in this sense here and in other chapters.
  31. 31. 24 by noting how much larger is the increase of the population-weighted average (from 2055 to 2620) compared with that of the simple average of the 98 developing countries analysed individually in this study (from 2170 to 2500). There are currently 8 developing countries with a population of 100 million or more. Four of them (Mexico, Brazil, Nigeria and China) account for one third of the population of the developing countries and have per capita food consumption in the range 2700-3240 kcal/person/day, up from 1920-2580 in 1970, and incidence of undernourishment in the range of 4-10 percent. Figure 2.1 kcal/person/day, by region and country groups, 1990-2007 Countries with over 100 million inhabitants that failed to make comparable progress include those in South Asia (kcal/person/day in the range 2250-2300, up from 2030-2250 in 1970). The region’s food per capita has been virtually flat at low levels over the last ten years. Countries in this region still have undernourishment in the range 21-27 percent. This has dragged down the indicators for all developing countries. If we exclude South Asia, the rest of the developing countries grew from 2050 to 2750 (Table 2.1 and Figure 2.1). The failure of India’s high economic growth to translate into significantly increased food consumption is a major factor why more progress was not made in the developing countries as a whole15 . The FBS data indicate that the country has currently the same low kcal/person/day (2300) as it had 25 years ago. It accounts for 238 million of the 827 million undernourished of the developing countries. If it had made even modest progress, say to 2500 kcal/person/day, the total for the developing countries would have declined to 740 million and some progress would have been made towards the target of halving the numbers by 2015. We shall have occasion to revisit the issue of India’s sluggish response of food consumption per capita to the high growth of per capita incomes (Annex 2.1). Whether this pattern of response continues or not, India’s food 15 India’s household final consumption expenditure per capita (at constant 2005$ at Purchasing Power Parities- PPP) increased from $PPP 538 in 1980 to $PPP 1457 in 2007, i.e. by 170 percent (World Bank, World Development Indicators, accessed Jan. 2011). 1500 1700 1900 2100 2300 2500 2700 2900 3100 3300 3500 1970 1972 1974 1976 1978 1980 1982 1984 1986 1988 1990 1992 1994 1996 1998 2000 2002 2004 2006 Kcal/person/day Developed Developing China East Asia excl. China South Asia Developing excl. South Asia
  32. 32. 25 demand outcomes will have a profound impact on the assessment of long-term prospects of world agriculture and nutrition. While developments in South Asia, with 30 percent of the total population of the developing countries, explain a large part of the failure to make more progress, there are also numerous other less populous countries that failed to make much progress. There are still 20 countries with over 30 percent of their population classified as undernourished (see below). Their average food/capita was 1910 kcal/person/day in 1990/1992 (the base year of the halving target): it is about the same (1940 kcal) 15 years later (Figure 2.7). Sixteen of them are in sub-Saharan Africa, no matter that the region as a whole has shown some timid signs of accelerated rate of improvement of per capita food in the current decade, following some acceleration in economic growth and declines in poverty rates (Figure 2.8). In 1990/1992, 2.3 billion or 55 percent of the population of the developing countries were living in countries with food/capita under 2500 kcal; the percentage has fallen to 45 percent but, with the growth in population, there are still 2.3 billion in 2005/2007 (Figure 2.2). Figure 2.2 Developing countries: population living in countries with given kcal/ person/day 2.1.2 The incidence of undernourishment16 – past and present The latest FAO assessment (FAO, 2010), estimates the total incidence of undernourishment in the developing countries at 827 million persons in 2005/200717 (16 percent of their population 16 The term “undernourishment” is used to refer to the status of persons whose food intake does not provide enough calories to meet their basic energy requirements. The term “undernutrition” denotes the status of persons whose anthropometric measurements indicate the outcome not only, or not necessarily, of inadequate food intake but also of poor health and sanitation – conditions that may prevent them from deriving full nutritional benefit from what they eat (FAO, 1999: 6). 17 SOFI 2010 shows 835 million, because it includes in the developing countries the Central and Western Asian ones of the former USSR. 408 227 104 36 1 850 2 047 2 349 683 240 1 559 2 233 1 166 3 489 4 069 281 711 2 261 2 631 3 362 4 099 5 218 5 879 6 839 7 671 - 1 000 2 000 3 000 4 000 5 000 6 000 7 000 8 000 9 000 1990/1992 2005/2007 2015 2030 2050 Million Under 2000 kcal/person/day 2000-2500 2500-3000 >3000 Total population
  33. 33. 26 – Table 2.2), when average food consumption reached 2620 kcal/person/day. This estimate is not significantly different from that of fifteen years earlier, the 3-year average 1990/1992 was 810 million, but then it represented a higher proportion of their total population (20 percent). The 3-year average 1990/1992 was the base used by the 1996 WFS in setting the target of halving the numbers undernourished in the developing countries by 2015 at the latest. Thus, there has been no progress at all towards the halving target in the first fifteen years of the period to 2015. The significant declines achieved in East Asia (mainly China) were compensated by increases in the other two regions with the highest concentrations – sub- Saharan Africa and, particularly, South Asia. If these trends continued, the halving target will certainly not be achieved by 2015 and whatever further reductions take place will further accentuate the differences among regions and countries. Table 2.2 Incidence of undernourishment, developing countries Percent of population Million 1990/ 1992 2005/ 2007 2015 2030 2050 1990/ 1992 2005/ 2007 2015 2030 2050 Comparison 1999/2001 SOFI 2010 SOFI 2010 New* Old Developing countries 19.7 15.9 11.7 7.9 4.1 810 827 687 543 318 794 811 Excluding South Asia 19.1 13.5 9.8 6.9 4.1 555 496 408 333 225 515 511 Sub-Saharan Africa 33.6 27.6 21.4 14.5 7.1 165 201 195 180 119 198 201 Near East / North Africa 6.0 7.4 6.0 4.7 3.4 15 32 30 29 25 31 39 Latin America and the Caribbean 12.2 8.5 6.3 4.1 2.5 54 47 38 28 18 51 55 South Asia 21.5 21.8 16.1 10.5 4.2 255 331 216 211 93 279 299 East Asia 19.2 11.0 6.8 4.2 2.8 321 279 143 94 62 232 216 * The estimates for the 1999/01 should have been higher than the ones of the Interim Report of 2006 because of the lower kcal/person/day (Table 2.1). They are lower because the MDER for that year has been revised downwards (developing country simple average from 1842 to 1781), more than compensating for the effect of the lower kcal/person/day. The FAO estimates of undernourishment measure the extent of deficiencies in dietary energy intakes. Malnourishment due to other causes, such as deficiencies in micronutrients or inadequate absorption of the energy embodied in the food actually ingested is not accounted for in these estimates. Changes in the incidence of undernourishment18 in each country are close correlates of changes in (a) the food consumption level (kcal/person/day), (b) the difference between it and the Minimum Dietary Energy Requirements (MDER) and (c) an index of inequality (Box 2.1). The MDER varies with changes in population structure (age and sex distribution)19 . Such structure has changed over the period in question (between 1990/1992 and 2005/2007) with the result that the average MDER of the developing countries increased by some 40 kcal/person/day. If it were not for this change, the undernourished in 2005/2007 would have been 80 million fewer that the 827 million shown in Table 2.2. 18 The methodology of estimation is described in FAO (2008). 19 In a specified sex and age group, the MDER is the amount of dietary energy per person that is considered adequate to meet the energy needs for minimum acceptable weight for attained-height, maintaining a healthy life and carrying out a sedentary physical activity level. In the entire population, the MDER is the weighted average of the MDERs of the different sex and age groups in the population.

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